Upper School 2020

In DA Hybrid, the goal is to provide the best learning environment for students in the safest way possible, in accordance with the DA’s Roadmap for a Return to Campus and Guiding Principles. DA’s priorities for Upper School students while on campus are:

  • Ensuring health and safety protocols while students and teachers are on campus.
  • Establishing and building important student-teacher connections and creating supportive learning communities.
  • Providing opportunities for students to build relationships with their peers.
  • Developing student agency and independence so that they can work independently and successfully at home.

DA Hybrid divides Upper School students into two rotating groups. Each week, each group has two consecutive days of on-campus instruction, two consecutive days of remote instruction and Friday online “flex days.” On Flex Days, teachers are available for synchronous one-on-one meetings with students, synchronous instruction during their class period, or students can work on asynchronous lessons from home. 

Reducing the daily on-campus student population to 50% allows DA to implement safety protocols and social distancing throughout the school day. 

This weekly schedule is designed to be used in both DA Hybrid or Durham E-cademy scenarios. Also, all academic programming is designed to be accessible from home or on campus, allowing for easy transition between instructional models. This also accommodates the needs of students and families who may choose to or need to access remote instruction for a portion of or the entire academic year. 

Upper School Back to School 2020–2021

DA’s ability to offer hybrid educational experiences hinges on the willingness of the DA community to come together in support of our collective health and safety. Families are required to electronically sign the DA Community Health Compact and COVID-19 Addendum to the All-School Handbook, which outline DA’s health and safety protocols designed to protect the DA community.

Important Contacts

Office of Information Technology

Gem Gates
Nurse Consultant

Academic Year Schedule

Students start the academic year with their rotational schedule, establishing class routines. They are divided into the two groups that they will remain in throughout the academic year. During a four-day academic week, students are on campus for two days and learning remotely for two days. Friday is a “flex day.” On “flex days” all students learn remotely. 

Students will choose the names of their rotational groups at the start of the school year.

Stay-at-Home Students

DA recognizes that there may be students and families who may choose to or need to access remote instruction for a portion of or for the entire academic year. Students will be learning at home — some for longer periods by the choice of their families, some for shorter periods due to precautious quarantining. DA cannot promise a matching experience for stay-at-home learners. Every DA faculty member attended workshops over the summer to hone their abilities to teach remotely and to keep at-home learners connected and moving forward.

All of the Upper School’s academic programming is designed to be accessible from home. All Upper School instruction will be founded upon a base of remote learning, so that teaching will take place throughout the week in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Teachers’ class designs integrate students who are working at school with students working from home. The Upper School’s hybrid mode is designed to bring together the full class no matter the students’ locations. This model also allows a seamless transition to fully remote learning without resetting the syllabus.

Arrival Times and Locations

7:45–8:10 a.m.

Health screenings are conducted for all students upon arrival.

Dismissal Times and Locations

Dismissal will take place at 3:15 p.m.

Please have patience when picking up students. 

Students will complete the Safer Together app prior to entering school each day.

Masks and Physical Distancing

Classrooms are arranged to provide CDC-recommended distance between students.

Navigation and foot traffic is routed to ensure appropriate distance. Teachers will oversee students during times between classes and break times to reinforce safety behaviors.

After School Activities

The Fine Arts Department has created a new Upper School Theatre Company, led by and comprised of students. Mr. Bohanek and Mr. Kavanagh will supervise the production of a variety of smaller theatrical projects throughout the year that allow for social distancing and other safety measures. 

The entirety of the 2020-2021 DA Speech & Debate competition season will be virtual with a mix of both in-person and virtually-accessible practices. Interest meetings for new team members will be held during the first two weeks of school. Practices will be held after school and tournament opportunities exist on a variety of weekends throughout the year.  


In order to maintain cohorting of teams by division, student-athletes in Middle School (grades 7–8) will not be allowed to “play up” on Upper School teams. 

All student-athletes must have a valid up-to-date physical on file and complete the COVID-19 waiver through Veracross (click on “Sign Policies” under “My Household”) prior to participating. 

More information about WINTER athletics


  • All new Upper School students and all ninth-grade students receive a school-issued MacBook.
  • Students receive in-person and online instruction about appropriate laptop use and care, and efficiency in using remote learning platforms.
  • Every student laptop is configured with appropriate security controls.


  • Veracross (student/family database, gradebook, and LMS)
  • Microsoft Teams (synchronous meetings/instruction)
  • Microsoft Outlook (email)


DA’s Office of Communications will keep families informed about announcements and information related to COVID-19 and the school's learning environments. You can sign up to receive updates via email alerts through our website or via RSS feed.